It’s one of those cliches that’s attributed to everyone from ancient philosophers to modern-day football coaches. (But isn’t that what makes something a cliche?) My favorite version is attributed to tennis great (and a personal hero) Arthur Ashe: “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” I first heard the quote decades ago and it has often reminded me what business — and life — is all about. Recently on the Evernote blog, “Taking Note,” Jessi Craige explained why big goals are intimidating and why they so often quietly slip away. Instead of seeing a big goal as something that will be realized at some point in the distant future, the journey is all about what you can accomplish right now, starting today. Here’s a roadmap you can follow.


1 | Get specific

With both your overall goal and your roadmap for getting there, it’s important to be specific. It’s not about thinking positively about some abstract goal. It’s about thinking positively but also planning realistically what you want to accomplish and how you’ll go about it.

2 | Break it down and start small

Break big habits down into mini-goals and milestones. For instance, if you want to write a book, maybe start by writing a few articles on the topic or carve out 20 minutes every day for writing. Every day you’ll get incrementally better, learning something new along the way.

3 | Figure out what is distracting you

What distracts you on a day-to-day basis? Brainstorm some ideas for how you can get around your most frequent distractions and triggers. Come up with some tactics to get yourself back on track if you lose your way.

4 | Reflect daily

Break things down each day by asking yourself, “What is one step I can take today to get closer to my goal?” “What did I learn today?”

5 | Carve out time

Set aside time every day. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, don’t neglect it — it’s how you’ll make progress.

6 | Celebrate the progress and enjoy the journey

When you have a big goal, it’s tempting to think you haven’t succeeded until you’ve achieved it. That anything short is a failure. When it’s not all about the goal, you can take it all in. Keep track of what you’ve accomplished with a done list. Seeing your progress boosts motivation, heightens positive emotions, and sustains your productivity.

VIA | Taking Note | 6 tips for focusing on the journey


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